By Adedayo Ogunleye, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress, APC, will not participate in the on-going 2015 election public debates on national television and radio being organised by the Broadcast Organisation of Nigeria, BON, the director, media and publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Organization, Garba Shehu, has said.
The APC presidential campaign spokesman, who released a press statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the boycott was the party’s response to “the unhidden bias and campaign of calumny by some key organizers of the program against the corporate political interest of the party and its candidates.”
Stating that the Nigeria Election Debate Group, NEDG, – powered debate was ridden with fundamental errors from inception, the party also asserted that the group, as constituted, is firmly under undue government control, and is wholly composed mainly of agencies and allies of the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, administration.
“A salutary inspection of the composition of NEDG brings into focus the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, National Television Authority, NTA, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, and the Africa Independent Television, AIT, which is owned by a PDP chieftain.’
The party further asserted that several inflammatory statements, misinformation and blatant lies have been propagated by media platforms involved in organizing the debates against the APC and the party’s candidates contrary to the recently signed Abuja Peace Accord.
According to the party’s Presidential Campaign spokesman, “the failure of the identified aggressors to desist and apologize, have left the APC Campaign with no option than to steer clear of any premeditated smear campaign’ that could be injurious to the party’s impending victory at the polls.”
Explaining further, Shehu urged the public not to take the scheduled boycott by the APC as an affront or disrespect to Nigerian voters or an alibi for the party to dodge public scrutiny but as an honourable “decision not to consent to any activity that could distract, demean, denigrate or derail the fast-moving train of the party.”
“The APC is a party of progressive intellectuals, genuine technocrats, successful businessmen and women, and most of all eminent and courteous people of honour who would never condescend to the level of sadistic gutter propaganda, all in the name of political exigency and crass opportunism,” Buhari’s campaign spokesman stated
Shehu alleged that many government-controlled media have clipped the wings of APC promotional advertisements on one excuse on the other, drawing attention to the fact that until a court upturned its decision recently, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, had clamped down on some telecom portals for soliciting legitimate campaign funds from members of the public for APC.
In an obvious reference to controversial death advertorial sponsored by Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, the campaign spokesman asserted that “elements close to sitting President Goodluck Jonathan have commissioned series of derogatory and death threat advertorials against the person, family and associates of the opposition leader, Muhammadu Buhari.
He lamented that all letters of complaint written by the APC to the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the Department of State Security, DSS, Advertisers Practitioners of Nigeria, APCON, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the erring media houses that published or aired such offensive adverts or documentaries have been ignored.
“None of our letters of protest has been attended to by the authorities. So, whatever the incumbent President wants to do with the instrument of state to harass members of the opposition into humiliating submission would not work,” he said